Monday, December 8, 2008

What's going on?

We've been busy these days. It's a good busy, but also a tiring busy. Last week, the students at Mzumbe had a week long break from academics. To our delight, one of our friends at school planned a youth retreat in which he invited 30+ high school students from the city and surrounding to go to a camp in the mountains and spend a week in prayer and Bible study. He invited me (M) to come up and teach a little, so naturally I went and played games, getting the students to act out Bible stories, which they did a great job with.

About a week ago, the international school in Morogoro hosted a Christmas pageant, which was a pleasure to watch. We were able to watch some kids as they acted out the parts of shepherds, angels, mary, joseph, and all, and we enjoyed some Christmas carols played by the local international crowd on everything from guitars to flutes to trumpets. It was nice to feel a part of the Christmas season even though everything around us is so different from what we're used to!

One day my car was pretty slow to start, so after consulting a friend and checking the battery voltage, I decided to go to town to buy a new car battery. After a process of charging and filling with water, etc, we install the new battery on the side of the road in town. But the car doesn't start. So a short discussion ensues, which I mostly ignore b/c it's in my second language and would take waaaay too much brainpower to keep up with. Then one of my friends, a local mechanic, begins to climb into the driver seat of my car, telling me he's going to "shtua" the car. I sort of shrug as another guy yells in swahili that "Michael is able to 'shtua' the car." At which point I began to frantically think, "what in the world is 'shtua'?!?" So my friend climbs out and hands me the keys and says "can you 'shtua' it?" Again, I rack my brain for this funny sounding word, but I say "Sure... but what is 'shtua'?" He sort of laughs a nervous laugh as if to say, "I have no idea how to explain 'schtua' to this crazy foreigner who obviously knows nothing about cars." I then climb in the car, still whirring my mind for a memory of such a word, but quickly realize that I have no more time for that. A crowd of about 10 Tanzanians has gathered at the front of my car with hands on the hood and they begin to push me backwards into oncoming traffic. Thankfully, I gave up on trying to figure out this new word through language thoughts and instead rationally realized that I'd better throw it in reverse, turn the key, and roll start this car right now!! Seconds later, I 'shtuaed' the car to the delight of my new group of friends.

Oh, and always remember to keep a respectable Dress Cod. Your fish should not offend others.


Anonymous said...

Well we did "roll start" your old Nissan truck a few times. Glad you remembered it!

Love, Dad

Michael said...

That we did! It's amazing how much easier it is to learn stuff when you have no other choice. I'm not quite the stand-back-and-watch mechanic I used to be!